Malcolm Tibbetts Net Worth (Updated 2022)

Malcolm Tibbetts is a leading figure in the art of woodturning. He is known for his segmented woodturning skills and intricate art pieces.

Some of his most famous works include the 2017 Burning Man wood installation. He has delivered speeches for TED Talks regarding the importance of art, and many of his artworks can be seen in galleries worldwide.

He also regularly holds symposiums to talk about his career and creating art.

He has accomplished a lot in his career, but what is Malcom Tibbetts’ net worth?

Name:Malcolm Tibbetts
Date of Birth:24th October 1949 (72 years old)
Place of Birth:New Hampshire, USA
Height:5 feet 6 inches (1.68 meters)
Marital Status:Married
Children:2 children, 3 grandchildren
Parents:Jon Malcolm Tibbetts (Father), Royann Tibbetts (Mother)
Net Worth Estimate:$1 million

Net Worth

An exact figure of Tibbetts’s net worth is not known. However, it is estimated to be around $1 million. This figure comes from the approximate sales of his media, which includes his artwork, DVD collection, and books.

Many pieces of Tibbetts’s art are on sale at the Marcus Ashley Art Gallery in Lake Tahoe and they range from $1000 to $15,000.

Early life

Tibbetts was born in the north of New Hampshire. He lived in a house with his immediate family, while his extended family lived close by. He was the first of many grandchildren.

As such, he had a close relationship with his grandfather, who inspired him to begin crafting wood. At the age of five, Tibbetts’s grandfather helped him put together his first piece of wood art.

He went to college at Southern New Hampshire University. What he studied is unknown, as well as his GPA.

However, he later joined the military and began serving his country shortly before the Vietnam War. Despite this, he was not enlisted to fight in Vietnam, although he did travel the world. During his military career, he visited Garmisch in Germany. While there, he managed a ski patrol designed for the military.

Many of Tibbetts’s family come from a background of skiing, specifically in ski businesses. So, Tibbetts completed his military service and returned to Tahoe, near California.

In Tahoe, Tibbetts joined a ski resort named Heavenly Ski Resort and began working there as a ski patroller. Soon after, he progressed to a leadership position and became the Vice President of Mountain Operations.

While working at the ski resort, Tibbetts continued doing woodwork and developed his passion for the art. This included creating chairlifts for the resort and systems to create snow. He made furniture for his house and quickly found that he did not have enough space for his creations.

So, Tibbetts changed tracks and started creating sculptures instead. 

Doing woodwork on the side allowed Tibbetts to perfect his style of woodturning. Although Tibbetts insists that he was not self-taught, it was during this period that he honed his skills. 


As he developed his skills with woodwork, the complexities of his sculptures advanced, too.

Initially, Tibbetts focused on turning solid wooden pieces but later progressed to wood pieces that were stuck together. Some of the first pieces that he created were simple wooden bowls.

However, he believed that using a lathe was dull and decided to try something different. Completely by accident, Tibbetts began creating segmented pieces of wood using a mixture of colors.

One of the reasons he chose woodturning over other forms of art is because it allows for more creativity, despite the complexities of creating this art.

During the 1990s, Tibbetts saw some success with his wood pieces. He decided to exhibit some of his sculptures in galleries nationwide.

In one San Francisco gallery, his artwork sold for a substantial amount. He also attended a woodturning symposium that was held in Colorado in 1994.

During this symposium, Tibbetts became friends with Ray Allen. Allen is one of the most well-known figures in the woodturning world. 

Ray became a mentor of sorts to Tibbetts and helped to teach him about the art of segmented woodturning. In 1997, the roles were reversed, and Tibbetts began regularly speaking at symposiums for the American Association of Woodturners, also known as AAW.

However, it was not until 2001 that Tibbetts decided to pursue woodturning full-time for his career. This came after working for Heavenly Ski Resort for approximately 30 years. The biggest factor that influenced this decision was the change in management at the resort. 

Tibbetts felt that it was a sign for him to continue woodwork instead, especially since he began gaining fame for his artwork. Already, Tibbetts had won a few woodturning competitions and made extra money from selling his art. 

Before leaving, Tibbetts made sure to negotiate a severance package with Heavenly Ski Resort to ensure he could still provide for himself while making wooden art. He was also determined to stay out of the ski resort business forever.

Tibbetts had become a well-known name in the woodturning world in the western United States. A month after quitting his job, Linden Publishing approached Tibbetts and asked him to create a book regarding his woodturning experiences.

Tibbetts was unafraid of writing the book because he had previously published articles in various magazines about woodturning. He had also written technical guides for several ski corporations.

The book was titled “The Art of Segmented Woodturning,” and people in the woodturning world quickly considered the text a bible of sorts. Tibbetts credits this book as being the turning point for his woodturning career.

He gained wide respect for his knowledge of woodturning, and his sculptures began selling in greater quantities. In 2002, Tibbetts sold enough artwork to consider himself a full-time artist.

Tibbetts also began teaching others about the art of woodturning. This involved giving club demos and workshops. The club demos would last around 2 hours, and Tibbetts would deliver an all-day session the next day.

He would give PowerPoint presentations to show people how to design something in woodturning. 

However, Tibbetts later transitioned out of club demos and focused his teaching efforts at the Marc Adams school in Indiana. The classes are held every September for only one week. 

Tibbetts starts the class by teaching people the essentials of woodturning. Tibbetts stated that he does not give the students blueprints but instead encourages them to use their creative skills to develop their own projects.

On the last day, most students have created a piece of art that they can continue working on in their leisure time. Tibbetts noted that the focus is not to finish the art but to get the students started.

In the early 2000s, Tibbetts was commissioned to release seven volumes of DVDs about woodturning. The last of these was released in 2014.

However, Tibbetts has stated that he will not release any further DVDs due to the popularity of video streaming sites like YouTube.

These sites are much easier for people to access for information about woodturning, and Tibbetts does not believe the market is sustainable enough to warrant another release.

Career Highlights

  • Previously worked at Heavenly Ski Resort
  • Wrote a book titled “The Art of Segmented Woodturning”
  • Released several DVDs
  • Artwork sold in galleries nationwide
  • Teaches students about woodturning

Personal Life

Tibbetts current lives in South Lake Tahoe, California. He has been married to his wife, Tere, for a number of years. He has two children and three grandchildren, though the fourth grandchild is due to be born soon.

Tibbetts and Tere moved into their first home together in 1976. However, they did not have enough money to buy any furniture after paying for the house. So, Tibbetts decided to buy a table saw and began crafting furniture for their house.

One of Tibbetts’s major inspirations is the Spanish artist Antoni Gaudi. Tibbetts’s father-in-law lived in Barcelona as a child in a home for those with learning disabilities. Tibbetts has visited this home previously and noted that the architectural style inspires his own artwork.

Similarly, the German-American artist Peter Max greatly impacted Tibbetts’s art style. Max is known for his use of vivid colors, and he greatly shaped the pop art scene of the 1960s. Tibbetts incorporated aspects of Max’s art style when dyeing pieces of wood in various shades. Tibbetts also created a piece of art titled “Remembering Peter Max” as an homage to this painter.

Current affairs heavily inspire Tibbetts’s style of art. In fact, Tibbetts claimed that his favorite type of art to create is one where he can deliver a message to his audience or tell a story. 

Some pieces of his art have a social message, such as encouraging pacifism or raising awareness of claim issues. Tibbetts considers these pieces of art to be more distinctive than the others.

However, Tibbetts also stated that not all of his art contains a message of sorts. Some of his art is designed simply to be aesthetically pleasing. Tibbetts believes that these “meaningless” artworks are just as valid as those with a purpose.

Fun Facts

Today, Tibbetts considered his artwork “Rocky Road Ahead” to be his favorite. This woodturning piece consists of a globe sitting on a wooden ice cream cone. Across the sides, the polar ice caps are melting. 

Another favorite of his is “Men in the Shadows.” After listening to “Lives in the Balance” by Jackson Browne, Tibbetts was inspired to create this piece. One of the lines mentions the “men in the shadows,” and Tibbetts felt compelled to create a piece of art inspired by the song’s pacifist message. This piece of art involves many eyes staring out of a castle’s windows.

Tibbetts says that he doesn’t keep track of how much the materials cost him to make each part of art. Similarly, he does not record the number of working hours he completes. Instead, when deciding on a price for a sculpture, Tibbetts chooses a random number.

He bases this figure on how much he believes people will possibly pay. Tibbetts believes that the price is not important, as if someone wants his artwork, they will simply buy it.

Tibbetts founded a new chapter of the AAW, titled the Segmented Woodturners. He is one of its key members, alongside Curt Theobald and Bill Smith. This chapter focuses on the art of segmented woodturning and teaches individuals about to create these pieces of art.

One of Tibbetts’s most famous pieces is the “Burning Man” installation, which he donated to South Lake Tahoe. However, unfortunately, the installation was vandalized, almost completely destroying the artwork.

Visitors to the Burning Man festival had attempted to climb to the top of the structure and damaged it in the process. An unknown individual destroyed the large parts of the structure.

The original art was over 30 feet tall and was accompanied by tall wooden sculptures. It comprised over 30,000 pieces of wood carved into a variety of complex shapes. Sadly, only the tall sculptures survived the attack.

Unfortunately, this was not the only time that someone destroyed the art. The remaining parts of the sculpture were placed in front of a Tahoe building.

Once again, these were damaged. Tibbetts reworked the art into a third piece to commemorate the loss of life during the Caldor Fire of 2021. This was titled “Heroes,” and it includes the names of all the brave individuals who helped protect the community of Tahoe from the wildfires.

Tibbetts’s art has won a number of prestigious awards. One of these includes the “People’s Choice Award,” which he won at the California Creative Arts Spirit of the Wood competition. He also won the “Creativity Award” at this event. His art piece, “A Tangled Web,” gained recognition at the 2015 Bridges Conference. He won a “Craftsmanship Award” for it.

Tibbetts regularly posts videos on his YouTube channel, documenting the behind-the-scenes process of how he creates his artwork. He currently has over 10,000 subscribers. 

Tibbetts is a huge fan of music and often listens to songs as he creates his art. His favorite band is the Beatles, while Bob Dylan is his favorite solo singer. Tibbett prefers folk music and songs from the 1960s.


Malcolm Tibbetts is a leading figure and one of the most respected woodturning practitioners in the world. As of 2022, Malcolm Tibbetts net worth is roughly $1 million.

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